Hydrogen based society: the next era

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
<a href="http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.04/hydrogen.html"; target="_blank">I got this link off of slashdot.</a>



Despite our roots in the oil business, I don't think we can depend on it for much longer. The article has 5 pages. It's an interesting and introspective read, especially when you consider and keep in mind how oil affects our foreign policy.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    thttht Posts: 3,322member
    There really needs to be two vectors in any energy policy. One is new energy resource development. The other is energy efficiency development.



    Energy resource development means investing lots of money into hydrogen, tidal, bio-energy, nuclear, solar, space, etc. Energy efficiency means investing in technology to make current tech more efficient: super efficient coal power plants, energy efficient buildings; anything that involves usage of gas, electricity, "energy", must be made more efficient.



    There's always a caution: there aint no such thing as a free lunch. A hydrogen based auto industry is hugely desired, but I doubt it will be a free lunch. It will bring about its own set of environmental problems. But for any dynamic society, it needs continuous invention and reinvention of itself to stay vital. We can stay stagnant with oil, so the gov't should be going full speed at subsidizing the R&D.



    The rationale of getting out of oil as a way of solving our political problems is somewhat specious. What's currently being played out is an exercise of political power, it really isn't about oil. I really doubt that any nations that would have formed about the Mideast oil fields would have trouble selling to the USA. It's just that the politics weren't played that way and those nations needed to be controlled for political purposes, not necessarily oil.
  • Reply 2 of 20
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Sounds good to me, but unless we're using nuclear power to get the Hydrogen, we'll still be burning a lot of fossil fuels.
  • Reply 3 of 20
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    Ugh. I was going to read it but the authors lost me in the first paragraph by referring to oil as an "indulgence". It's such a stupid statement I can't get past it. Personal failing of mine.





    Anyway Go alternative fuels!
  • Reply 4 of 20
    brbr Posts: 8,395member
    [quote]Originally posted by Scott:

    <strong>Anyway Go alternative fuels! </strong><hr></blockquote>



    To your kind, an alternative fuel is Shell over Mobil.
  • Reply 5 of 20
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    [quote]Originally posted by Scott:

    <strong>Ugh. I was going to read it but the authors lost me in the first paragraph by referring to oil as an "indulgence". It's such a stupid statement I can't get past it. Personal failing of mine.





    Anyway Go alternative fuels! </strong><hr></blockquote>

    There are some silly things like that sprinkled in there, but for what it's worth, they do make a case and lay out a plan, albeit an optimistic one.
  • Reply 6 of 20
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    I'm waiting for the helium-based society, where everyone goes around talking like Donald Duck.
  • Reply 7 of 20
    curiousuburbcuriousuburb Posts: 3,325member
    how about the neon-based society... everybody glows.

    (argon, xenon, or krypton for other colours, too)
  • Reply 8 of 20
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    [quote]Originally posted by BR:

    <strong>



    To your kind, an alternative fuel is Shell over Mobil.</strong><hr></blockquote>





    Oh yea I'm all like Big Oil global warming I love it death to BR on a hot summer day ha ha ha ha ha.



    I fit neatly in the box you have me in
  • Reply 9 of 20
    I also think moving to a Hydrogen economy is a viable solution. I think this solution can work on several levels. The poorest continent on our planet from many perspectives is Africa. Africa also has a lot of territory undeveloped and going unutilized in harnessing what could be their key to economic, political and social development. Basically what I?m talking about is the conversion of H2O to hydrogen and Oxygen through solar energy. So instead of burning more fossil fuels to produce Hydrogen for the global economy, I would suggest something like the Kyoto framework which really is about the transfer of wealth from the industrialized countries to the not so, while providing minimal actual reduction in the consumption of fuels that produce pollutants in the first place, maybe should at least look at this option to achieve both results.
  • Reply 10 of 20
    You guys don't refer specifically to hydrogen in cars, but it's certainly one of the favorite applications for hydrogen. Given the number of crashes in today's roads and the flammability of hydrogen, wouldn't it be a bit dangerous to make most cars effectively into bombs? The number of accidents wouldn't go up, but the percentage of fatal accidents most probably would.



    Also,

    [quote] Basically what I?m talking about is the conversion of H2O to hydrogen and Oxygen through solar energy. <hr></blockquote>

    As it happens, just yesterday my chemistry teacher taught us about electolysis, which is the process that you propose to use. It would be nice, but unfortunately it takes large amounts of electricity to break water into its constituents, and if we have that much energy to pour into electrolysis, why not simply send the solar electricity everywhere directly, instead of losing energy by converting water into hydrogen and carting that around the world?



    Anyway that's just my two cents... I'm certainly no expert on either the safety/efficiency of hydrogen, or on electrolysis, so I'm open to any corrections to what I've said



    Hey if it is viable, I'll be the first in line for a brand new unpolluting car!



    EDIT: Ugh my writing is terrible today! Too tired to fix it up though... hope I was clear enough to be understood



    [ 03-13-2003: Message edited by: pumpkin ]</p>
  • Reply 11 of 20
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    [quote]Originally posted by pumpkin:

    <strong>You guys don't refer specifically to hydrogen in cars, but it's certainly one of the favorite applications for hydrogen. Given the number of crashes in today's roads and the flammability of hydrogen, wouldn't it be a bit dangerous to make most cars effectively into bombs? The number of accidents wouldn't go up, but the percentage of fatal accidents most probably would.





    [ 03-13-2003: Message edited by: pumpkin ]</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Thats an old argument and it doesn't hold up. Hydrogen would dissipate faster than anything in liquid form and the tanks themselves would be made in a way that it would require the car be crushed in a compactor to rupture the tanks. Also the tanks would be smaller and narrower than gasoline tanks placing them more in the center of the vehicle. Unless you get into an accident with 4 18-wheelers hitting you from all 4 sides, it is VERY unlikely for a hydrogen tank to burst and then you would need a very hot catalyst to cause it to explode before it completely dissipates.
  • Reply 12 of 20
    [quote]Originally posted by pumpkin:

    <strong>

    .

    .

    As it happens, just yesterday my chemistry teacher taught us about electolysis, which is the process that you propose to use. It would be nice, but unfortunately it takes large amounts of electricity to break water into its constituents, and if we have that much energy to pour into electrolysis, why not simply send the solar electricity everywhere directly, instead of losing energy by converting water into hydrogen and carting that around the world?



    Anyway that's just my two cents... I'm certainly no expert on either the safety/efficiency of hydrogen, or on electrolysis, so I'm open to any corrections to what I've said

    .

    ,

    </strong><hr></blockquote>





    The problem with solar energy is that of storage. That is, what happens when you have over capacity and you don?t need the energy that instant. In Israel every household has solar panels. These are basically used to heat water. The heated water resides in insulated water tanks until needed. But no matter how great the insulation you will still loose a considerable amount of energy, as heat from the water slowly dissipates. Also this technology is 30 some years old (that?s at least how long it?s been in use in Israeli homes anyway), and my suspicion is that converting solar energy to produce Hydrogen and Oxygen is a much more efficient process than converting it to hot water. And both oxygen and Hydrogen can later be used as efficient fuels down the line.
  • Reply 13 of 20
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    [quote]Originally posted by zKillah:

    <strong>





    The problem with solar energy is that of storage. That is, what happens when you have over capacity and you don?t need the energy that instant. In Israel every household has solar panels. These are basically used to heat water. The heated water resides in insulated water tanks until needed. But no matter how great the insulation you will still loose a considerable amount of energy, as heat from the water slowly dissipates. Also this technology is 30 some years old (that?s at least how long it?s been in use in Israeli homes anyway), and my suspicion is that converting solar energy to produce Hydrogen and Oxygen is a much more efficient process than converting it to hot water. And both oxygen and Hydrogen can later be used as efficient fuels down the line.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Good points. With the last part, it would be better for the resultant oxygen to be simply let out into the atmosphere. Most fuel cell designs simply use the oxygen in the air to bond with the hydrogen in the fuel cell wall.
  • Reply 14 of 20
    [quote]Originally posted by Outsider:

    <strong>

    Thats an old argument and it doesn't hold up. Hydrogen would dissipate faster than anything in liquid form and the tanks themselves would be made in a way that it would require the car be crushed in a compactor to rupture the tanks. Also the tanks would be smaller and narrower than gasoline tanks placing them more in the center of the vehicle. Unless you get into an accident with 4 18-wheelers hitting you from all 4 sides, it is VERY unlikely for a hydrogen tank to burst and then you would need a very hot catalyst to cause it to explode before it completely dissipates.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Well, that removed my fear of a "Ford Pinto" scenario.



    Wasn't it Bush that mentioned this in his State of the Union address? Saying in effect it would take about 16-20 years for it to be feasible?



    I'm for it. But I think that by now the Defense Dept. already has something on the drawing table or even in prototype phase by now. I just think that's a long ways away.



    maybe it will be "my child that'll be driving one in the future"... <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />
  • Reply 15 of 20
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    [quote]Originally posted by Artman @_@:

    <strong>



    Well, that removed my fear of a "Ford Pinto" scenario.



    Wasn't it Bush that mentioned this in his State of the Union address? Saying in effect it would take about 16-20 years for it to be feasible?



    I'm for it. But I think that by now the Defense Dept. already has something on the drawing table or even in prototype phase by now. I just think that's a long ways away.



    maybe it will be "my child that'll be driving one in the future"... <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" /> </strong><hr></blockquote>

    I think what Bush was probably refering to was it would take 16-20 years for the infrastructure to be fully in place. The technology is pretty much there. Fuel cells can be purchased for commercial and residential applications (www.fuelcellstore.com is one place) right now. Remember NASA has been using fuel cells for 30 years! They pioneered the technology; it's just taken a while for it to trickle down to civillians. But who knows what forces are behind the adoption or lack of adoption. But I'm not a conspiracy theorist.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    For hydrogen to catch on (IMO) they have to focus on making the cost per mile cheaper than gas. No one is going to buy H2 when they can get good old gas for less. Despite the dire predictions (fyi the experts were right, we can out of oil 20 years ago ) the price of gas is not going to skyrocket anytime soon.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    This government site may be of interest:

    <a href="http://www.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/"; target="_blank">http://www.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/</a>;
  • Reply 18 of 20
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    [quote]Originally posted by Outsider:

    <strong>This government site may be of interest:

    <a href="http://www.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/"; target="_blank">http://www.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/</a></strong><hr></blockquote>;

    Check ou this article especially:

    <a href="http://www.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/hydrogen/production.html"; target="_blank">Production</a>
  • Reply 19 of 20
    pumpkinpumpkin Posts: 32member
    cool I'm glad there are no arguments against it then "hey daddy can you buy me a new car?"
  • Reply 20 of 20
    Speaking of <a href="http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=57304&cid=0&pid=0&startat=&thresho ld=1&mode=nested&commentsort=0&op=Change" target="_blank">/.</a>



    Interesting discussion re fuel cells. Some of the posts are really funny. Informative too.
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